Posts Tagged ‘CBSA’


Your Tsawwassen Container Examination Facility Update

tsawwassen container examination facility

Tidewater Container Services Selected To Operate New Examination Facility

In July of 2018 the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA) announced they had selected Tidewater Container Services through Harbour Link to be the operator and drayage provider of the newly built Tsawwassen Container Examination Facility (TCEF) located on the Tsawwassen First Nation Lands.

Tidewater Container Services is a wholly owned subsidiary of Harbour Link Container Services. Tidewater will be performing the container and cargo handling services for VFPA related to the examination of containerized cargo by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Harbour Link provides container drayage and off-dock container terminal services to all sectors of the container shipping community and currently operates a sufferance terminal in Delta, B.C.

Tidewater will be utilizing approximately 50,000 square feet of the TCEF structure to provide commercial warehousing and transloading services.

TCEF Operational Before 2019?

The TCEF is in its final phase of completion. Once complete the VFPA will apply for an Occupancy Permit from the Tsawwassen First Nation and upon receipt of the permit, Tidewater will begin to outfit the facility to make it operational. TCEF is expected to be operational by the end of 2018.

In the November 2017 blog post, The Issues and Solutions of Container Exams at the Port of Vancouver, you learned about the frustrations of the lengthy delays and costs of container exams in Vancouver.

In June of 2018, CBSA provided an update on their website of the Marine Container Examination Process. CBSA reiterated that CBSA is only responsible for the examination of marine containers, but does not control, influence, or charge for the:

  • Movement of containers to and from the CBSA: and
  • Offloading and reloading of containers

CBSA provided the following diagrams:

tsawwassen container examination facility

tsawwassen container examination facility

Tidewater, the facility operator at the TCEF, will generate the fees for presenting the goods for examination, to cover the cost of transportation to and from the examination facility, and for unloading and reloading the container. Tidewater will then bill the shipping line for these costs who will pass the cost to the importer.

Stakeholder Recommendations To Improve Ocean Trade

Recommendations for improvements for Ocean Trade were made at a September 2017 stakeholder conference. The main thread with the recommendations made were to improve the communication between all stakeholders regarding delays, service hours, and service standards.

  • Shipping lines, terminal operators and warehouse operators are required to post standard fees associated with the movement and facilitation of freight through the marine process.
  • Terminal operators need to improve the reservation system for pick up and return of CBSA examined or targeted containers.
  • CBSA needs to provide proof of examination, LSI exam and ventilation timelines to stakeholders.
  • There needs to be a transparent dispute resolution between all stakeholders.
  • Use of technology for real-time status and progress of the exam providing importers and their service providers’ insight to better plan and mitigate impacts of the exam to their business and supply chains.
  • Importers need the flexibility and the option to deliver direct from the exam site.
  • CBSA needs to identify opportunities to improve efficiencies and consistencies with their targeting and examination of container freight. A clear focus on the client is necessary which is transparent with defined and measurable service standards.

The hope is, with the opening of the TCEF, all of the above recommendations from the stakeholders meeting will be put into effect. As of now all the trade community can do is wait and see.

Experts You Can Trust

If you need assistance importing into the U.S., importing into Canada, or Freight Forwarding around the world, contact our experts to help get your goods where they need to go.

Jan Brock | Author

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CBSA Will Use a New Cargo Inspection System to Pre-screen Northbound US Cargo

Cargo Inspection System - Pacific Crossing 2017


CBSA will open the first land border

Gamma Ray Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System to improve processing of US Cargo

at Pacific Highway sometime in the summer of 2017.

Contributed by Jan Brock,

Senior Trade Advisor
Former Chief of Commercial Operations Pacific Highway crossing

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) announced in its Report on Plans and Priorities that it intended to invest in detection tools to assist the Border Services Officers with detecting high risk cargo.

Examinations may be performed with the use of specialized tools e.g. gamma ray imaging vehicle and cargo inspection system, ion scanners and detection dogs and may include a full or a partial offload of the goods to detect the presence of prohibited or restricted goods.” CBSA


Gamma ray imaging is a non-intrusive tool that cargo inspection services can use quickly and effectively to verify the presence of legitimate goods and to investigate suspicious and unknown materials. This technology assists with reducing border wait times and costs associated with cargo inspections.  

The Gamma Ray Imaging Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System being built at Pacific Highway is a stationary fixed location system contained within a building.

This technology performs the best for  detecting the presence of high density items  such as  steel or low density like narcotics.  It is capable of scanning an entire  semi truck and trailer ,intermodal shipping containers and automobiles for contraband.

This Cargo Inspection system  is a fast screening tool that will aid in facilitation of  cargo inspection at land borders. Large sized targets can be examined without unnecessarily opening or disturbing the contents of the load or incurring the cost of unloading or de stuffing the container.  

An offload will incur a cost to the importer, carrier and to CBSA cargo inspection services as it is very labour intensive.

The gamma ray image this system presents to the Border Services Officer (BSO) after the scan of the cargo and/or vehicle has been completed will assist in the officer’s decision on whether a more intrusive examination is warranted and the load may be redirected back to the warehouse for offload or destuffing by CBSA or the CBSA Contracted Cargo Inspection Service.

The efficiency, reduction in cargo inspection services and avoidance of costs associated with such action will make this new Cargo Inspection System a welcome addition to the Pacific Highway Port of Entry  and to Canadian Freight!

Have more questions on cargo inspection systems or cargo inspections services? Contact us and we are happy to assist.

For more detail please refer to the linked resource below :

Link: CBSA Report on Plans and Priorities

Want to learn more about the fundamentals of cross-border shipping? Attend a Customs Compliance Seminar hosted by Pacific Customs Brokers and learn from the experts.

Have questions or comments regarding importing to Canada? Leave them in our comments section below or email Ask Your Broker.

Why Carriers Care… about Cargo Control Numbers Matching Across All Submissions to CBSA

Why Carriers Care… about Cargo Control Numbers Matching Across All Submissions to CBSA













Highway Carriers will experience delays at the border or risk not reporting cargo they are carrying if the Cargo Control barcodes presented do NOT match the Cargo Control Numbers (CCN) transmitted via ACI eManifest to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Inaccurate CCN transmission by carriers could result in sanctions for non-compliance by the Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS).

It is very important that carriers presenting barcoded PARS numbers on arrival at the port ensure that the CCN transmitted to CBSA is identical to the PARS number. The PARS number must include the acronym “PARS” if this was used. It is not a requirement to embed the letter “PARS” into a PARS number, but if a carrier does embed letters into the PARS number that the driver provides at the border, then the carrier must use the identical number in their eManifest electronic cargo transmission.


Tips to ensure compliance:

  1. Carriers should provide the driver with the barcoded PARS number specific to each shipment so the carrier knows which PARS is being used and will also use the same number when transmitting their eManifest cargo data prior to arrival.
  2. The driver should contact the carrier as soon as the PARS number is used for a shipment therefore providing the carrier certainty of which number must be electronically transmitted to the CBSA.
  3. Carriers transmitting cargo numbers MUST pay close attention to the letter “l” and “O” and the numbers “1” and “0” in their CCN and PARS numbers. The transmission MUST match the release documents presented by the customs broker and/or importer. If they don’t match the release document will NOT align with the cargo transmission and the cargo will have been marked “Reported” but not “Released” at the First Port of Arrival (FPOA).


Drivers and carriers are invited to call our Carrier Help Desk with any eManifest or border crossing questions they may have or review the many posts we’ve written on the subject within this Blog. We can be reached by phone at 855.542.6644 or by emails at [email protected]. We are here to help!

What Is The Single Window Initiative?

Computer Network















How the SWI and the decommissioning of the current OGD release options will affect importers into Canada

{This post was updated September 8, 2017}


In March 2017 the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) implemented the Single Window Initiative (SWI). If your business imports goods into Canada regulated by particular Other Government Departments (OGD’s), the amount of information you are accustomed to reporting to Customs via a declaration may increase.

What do we mean by this? The first step in understanding the effect the SWI will have on your company is understanding what it is.

What is the Single Window Initiative?

The Single Window Initiative is a single point for advance reporting of import information to CBSA. The key phrases here are ‘single point’ and ‘advanced’ which speaks to the method and timing of reporting:

  • Method: ‘Single point’ means that Customs AND all Other Government Departments (OGD’s) collect the required import information in a single declaration (i.e., single window).
  • Timing: The ‘advanced reporting’ side of the equation means information previously provided to OGD’s after (in some cases) the goods are imported into Canada will now be required before the carrier’s arrival at the border.

The purpose of SWI is to provide the trade community with the ability to electronically submit all information required to comply with government import regulations at once. The purpose of this is:

  • Eliminate duplicate and redundant data requirements and processes
  • Reduce the paper burden on the business community and government
  • Align to the greatest extent possible with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (U.S. CBP)  and the World Customs Organization (WCO)  data model

It is a direct response to calls from the business community to simplify the process at the border and integrate government requirements into one process.

Understanding why the Single Window Initiative is necessary is easily explained with the importance of having OGD’s involved in the import process.

What Role does an Other Government Department Play in Importing Goods?

It is a common misnomer that CBSA is the only party that plays a role in allowing imports into Canada. In fact, many Other Government Departments protect the safety, economy, and environment of Canadians, who also have a say whether goods can be imported or not.

For example, reducing the risk of introducing an invasive species is helped by the reporting regulations and inspection procedures of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The CFIA impedes the light brown apple moth, which could hide in many imported fruits and vegetables, from taking up residence in Canada. It has no natural predators in Canada and is very difficult to eradicate. The negative impact that it would have to many of Canada’s economically important exports is considered to be significant.

In addition to the CFIA, there are many OGD`s. The agencies expected to participate in SWI, will be called Participating Government Agencies, and they are as follows:

  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
  • Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Global Affairs Canada
  • Health Canada
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Public Health Agency of Canada
  • Transport Canada

As proven in the CFIA example above, certain imports require another level of scrutiny and therefore reporting. SWI will improve this reporting process.

Reporting Process before SWI

Before the implementation of the Single Window Initiative, declarations prepared by your company, or by a customs broker on your business’s behalf, contain information such as:

  • Vendor

  • Importer
  • Commodities
  • Country of Manufacture
  • Quantity and weight
  • Value
  • Condition of sale
  • Currency of settlement
  • Reference number

For a full list of what is required for commercial imports into Canada, download this checklist.



CBSA shares the information they receive on the import with regulating OGD’s. However, not all information required by the OGD is listed in the declaration. If the OGD needed further details on the import, in most cases, they would contact the importer of record directly.

To make a border related decision before import, shipment information required by the Other Government Department such as licenses, permits, and certificates would need to be validated. Enter the SWI and the Integrated Import Declaration.

Reporting Process With SWI

Although technically there is no additional information needed by the Participating Government Agency, it will feel like you need to provide far more detail than ever before. This is because CBSA will require this information to be reported on an Integrated Import Declaration (IID) at the time of import.

What is the Integrated Import Declaration?

Since the SWI is a single window in which to collect information on the import for both CBSA and PGA’s, you will need to provide all the information required by those parties, in a single report. That report will be a new robust Customs declaration called the Integrated Customs Declaration (IID). The Integrated Import Declaration has many more data fields than the current declaration. These additional fields capture information on the imported goods that the regulating PGA needs to know.

In April of 2018, the option to report goods regulated by Other Government Departments via the release service options 463 (OGD PARS) and 471 (OGD RMD) will be decommissioned and replaced with an Integrated Import Declaration (IID).

IID Reporting Direct to Customs

If you submit your declarations to CBSA directly through EDI, you will need to include all information required by the PGA, for certain commodities, in addition to the current reporting requirements for CBSA.

IID Reporting via a Customs Broker

As mentioned previously, although technically there is no additional information needed by the Participating Government Agency, it will feel like you need to provide far more detail than ever before because of the requirements to report on an IID at the time of import.

As a result, if you are using a customs broker, you will need to provide more information to them than you ever have had to previously since the IID needs to include all information required by the regulating PGA, if applicable.

PGA Release Changes

After submitting the new and robust Integrated Import Declaration, CBSA will transmit that information to the appropriate department or agency responsible for regulating the goods if applicable. In some cases, the sharing of this information will happen before release and in others, after release.

If your PGA receives the information before release, it will assess the information provided and submit a border related decision to CBSA as required. Only when this PGA has deemed the goods eligible for import, will they be released in Canada.

To simplify, if your products are regulated by any PGA’s, CBSA will review the data provided in the IID in the following steps:

  1. Identify the regulating PGA for the commodity as reported in the IID
  2. Validate the IID data fields against the mandatory, conditional or optional data of that regulating PGA
  3. Trigger the sharing of data with the applicable PGA
  4. A release decision is made and shared with the carrier

Next Steps

You are experienced with the information requirements of Participating Government Agencies on all of your imports which is a great asset during this change. Ensure that you share your PGA regulated goods data elements with your customs broker before implementation.

If you are a client of Pacific Customs Brokers, we will be contacting you in the coming months with the specific additional data requirements we need to clear your imports with the IID.

Many Importers who report to CBSA directly through Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) are preparing with certification and testing by signing up with CBSA and their Technical Commercial Client Unit.


For more information on the SWI clients can contact the Single Window Initiative Team at [email protected]

See CBSA Customs Notice 16-22 for an update on what programs within the PGAs are available with SWI and IID.

We will continue to provide updates and clarification on this new modernization initiative in coming updates.






Another Successful Carrier Appreciation Reception

Pacific Customs Brokers would like to extend their gratitude to all guests who attended the 3rd Annual Carrier Appreciation and Cross-Border Reception held at Eaglequest Coyote Creek Golf Course in Surrey, B.C. A special thank you to Canada Border Services Agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement for their participation. We would also like to thank the B.C. Trucking Association in showing their support by attending this function.

Greg Timm, President of Pacific Customs Brokers says:

“Pacific Customs Brokers considers carriers key partners and allies in our effort to service importers. We spend a great deal of our thought and energy advancing the concerns of carriers to make their cross-border journey faster and simpler. We thank the government stakeholders who engaged with our guests, and especially we thank all of the good people in the trucking industry who joined us for our Carrier Appreciation and Cross- Border Information Event”.  

View the Carrier Reception photo gallery here >>

The event drew a large crowd of owners, general managers, operation managers, customs managers, dispatch administrators, shipping coordinators, and self-carrying importers from the transportation sector.

It was an evening of networking among industry partners with live music and great food! Guests traveled as far as California, Oregon, Michigan, Washington, Vancouver Island and the central interior of British Columbia.

Government Officials from Canada Border Services Agency, U.S. Customs Border and Protection and the Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement were on-hand to field questions related to cross-border topics. It was well worth their time as the guests asked many thought provoking questions.

Congratulations to Arek Koscinski of MC Freight Systems; this year’s lucky winner of an iPad Mini!

Thank you again for everyone’s continued participation for another successful event. We hope to see all of you again next year!

View the Carrier Reception photo gallery here >>

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